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Changhua, Taichung, Taiwan
I am a freelance photographer based in Taiwan, Asia. Photography is a passion as well as a job and Taiwan is a paradise for photographers. I am a product photgrapher, portrait photgrapher, wedding photgrapher, and commercial and editorial photographer. I also photograph a wide range of topics including travel and culture events here in Taiwan. As a sideline, I also teach scuba diving and run guided photography tours, photography courses and guided hikes in Taiwan.

Monday 1 December 2014

Pasta'Ay festival 2014

The Pasta'Ay festival 2014 in Chuchuan Hsinchu 巴斯達隘; 矮靈祭

This festival is held every 2 years by the Saisiyat Aboriginal tribe, 賽夏族, where they dance and chant from 6pm to 6am. The ritual starts by lighting 4 fire on the outside of the dancing area, in a square. The tribal people then link up by holding hands for the long ceremony, with a selected number of people carrying the "chairs" in which the spirits sit in. To ward off bad spirits, spectators get a strand of grass tied to their arm and on their camera gear before entering the ritual zone.

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The festival derives from old folklore which claims that centuries ago the short people, also know as pigmy people, were the inhabitants of the neighbouring area. They taught the Saisiyat Tribe all they know about farming and harvest after they had been chased away from their coastal homes to the mountains. Both tribes lived in harmony for years until the Pigmy men started lusting after Saisiyat Tribal women. This angered the Saisiyat men who eventually lost their patience and slaughtered almost all of the Pigmy Tribe. The survivors put an everlasting curse on the Saisiyat Tribe warning them that their ungratefulness would bring them bad fortune.
In order to placate the angry spirits, the Saisiyat people performed the ceremony very two years on the 15th day of the 10th lunar month. where they pay their respects to the spirits of the short people. The first evening of dancing is to commemorate the date with the spirits of the short people, followed by a second night of dancing to bid them farewell. Some members wear bells on their backs, swinging them back and forth to keep a rhythm going all through the dance whilst other carry "chairs" or banners of the clans. These also serve as chairs for the spirits.

Torch carries following the "chair" carriers into the dance area

The dancing and chanting

Stand off

The bells

Drinking home made rice wine 

Tightening the dancing circle

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